Protest Sentiments of Estonian Students in 1967-1968: on the Documents of the Komsomol Central Committee

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The article examines the little-studied topic of the evolution of the protest sentiments of the Estonian students in the 1960s, which found expression in student processions in Tallinn and Tartu in October 1968. A wide range of archival documents allows tracing the origins and dynamics of this phenomenon, as well as the perception of these events by the Soviet party leadership and the Central Committee of the Komsomol. It is noted that the data from archival sources and contemporary works by Estonian authors contradict each other with regard to the measures (reaction) taken by the Soviet leadership. The Student days in Tallinn and Tartu, planned as days of student solidarity, turned into mass marches and riots of a national and anti-Soviet character. The article concludes that the active protest of the Estonian students was caused by a whole range of reasons, among which are clear nationalist trends that intensified in the 1960s, the active penetration of Western European culture and ideology through travel contacts, communication with relatives living abroad, and international youth festivals. It was Estonia that in the 1960s was visited by the largest number of foreign tourists. Estonian Student construction brigades traveled to Eastern European countries, mainly to Czechoslovakia. The stirring up of Estonian students was influenced by the mass unrest of European students, which foreign authors call the “phenomenon of 1968.” The students of European countries advocated lowering the voting age, actively sought participation in political processes, protested against the large financial expenditures of their governments aimed at an arms race to the detriment of other sectors of the economy. Similar ideas were voiced by Estonian students at Komsomol meetings and scientific conferences. They also wished to create their own student organizations, independent of the Komsomol and Soviet ideology.

About the authors

Elena V. Kamaeva (Bureeva)

Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2274-9931

PhD, Associate Professor, History and Philosophy Department

1, Zelenaya St., Kazan, 420043, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2022 Kamaeva (Bureeva) E.V.

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